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13595Re: music our kids listen to

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  • (matushka) Ann Lardas
    Feb 1, 2005
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      Father, bless!

      I've discovered that it's important for parents to listen to what
      their children like. Three of ours are teenagers and the other wants
      to be. We have a rule that if they are helping with the housework,
      the kids get to choose the music. This way, I know what they're
      listening to. Lately, they've discovered things from the seventies
      and eighties -- Weird Al and Tom Lehrer -- but we also get Blink182
      and Smashmouth and the like. When the kids get a funny look on their
      faces and say, "We're going to skip the next track," then I know that
      they know that it's no good. This is a good thing. There are CD's and
      even groups that we just don't listen to any more after I got a good
      earful. We often borrow CD's from the library before buying them for
      just that reason. But from this the older kids have learned what is
      and isn't acceptable. And that's an important life skill. After all,
      I can't go to college with them and sit in the dorm sorting through
      cd's. They have to learn how to censor their own listening.

      Children who play a musical instrument sometimes have more
      discernment and a greater opportunity to police their own musical
      choices. Our crew has discovered Irish music, some of which is not
      very lenten but most of which tells a story or offers a moral.

      The computer is a big help, in that kids today can download specific
      songs and ignore the ones they don't like, making custom tailored
      cd's or ipods or whatever. Fr. Peter is big on explaining that they
      need to pay licensing for what they listen to, which I appreciate.
      But whatever they download, parents have to listen to it, even if
      it's torture to do so.

      When our oldest was ten, the bus driver used to play rap on the bus
      radio, and a parishioner gave her a little AM/FM radio of her own.
      She wanted to play the rap station at home, KBOX, and I let her on
      the condition that I listen, too. The words went by too fast for her
      to notice, but I heard them just fine, and when my eyebrows went back
      down to where they normally belong again, I came up with a strategy
      for getting her to abandon the station on her own. I chose one song
      and made it my "favorite." It had a chorus which went:

      Hurricane, but you can call me Flurricane.
      Hurricane, but you can call me Flurricane.
      Flurricane, but you can call me Hurricane.
      Hurricane, but you can call me Hurricane.

      And that's the repeatable part.

      Anyway, every time this song came on, I followed the teenybopper
      ettiquete and made everyone be quiet so I could listen. And sing
      along. And dance. No matter who was over. No matter what they were
      doing.

      It took her less than a week to find the classic channel, and rap has
      not entered since.

      FWIW, I like the music that the kids play when they get together for
      campfires at camp, and I like having older teens and young adults
      there whom they can learn about new groups and genres from. That's
      how they learned about the sound track from "Oh, Brother, Where Art
      Thou." Given that they're not going to sit around comparing Georgian
      chant to Bulgarian, we owe it to them to listen to what they listen
      to, and help them reach decisions about what it teaches and where it
      leads. Beyond that, we have the "Fr. N. test," which is, "Don't play
      music for yourself that you would be embarrassed to listen to in
      front of the priest." Depending on how cool a priest they choose for
      the N., there can be quite a range, but it weeds out anything too
      depressing or depraved.

      In Christ,
      Matushka Ann
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